PenFed Credit Union Mortgage Survey Reveals Personal Finances, Job Stability, and Low Interest Rates are the Three Greatest Influences on New Home Purchases

Posted August 06 2019
by Media Relations

TYSONS, Va., August 6, 2019 –PenFed Credit Union’s Mortgage Survey finds 40% of adults nationally report personal finances or job stability as the top decision-making factors when considering a new home purchase. More than a third (37%) report low interest rates as the second greatest contributor. The national survey commissioned by Morning Consult highlights mortgage myths and reveals consumer sentiments and knowledge surrounding mortgages and home buying options.

“At PenFed, we prioritize understanding consumer concerns so we can tailor products to meet those concerns and help consumers accomplish their goals,” said Lisa Cookson, Senior Vice President of Operations Mortgage & Home Equity at PenFed Credit Union. “Our annual mortgage survey helps us identify the most relevant trends, questions and motivations that influence potential homebuyers.”

Key 2019 survey findings include:

• Of those planning to buy a home in the next 12 months, 61% will be first-time homebuyers.

• Nationally, 40% of adults report personal finances or job security as the top decision-making contributors when considering homeownership. More than a third (37%) report low interest rates as the second greatest contributor.

• Nearly one in three (30%) said being unable to afford a down payment, in the city or town where they currently live, is the primary reason they are not looking to buy a home in that area in the next 12 months. Seventy-three percent report down payment requirements as important when deciding on a specific lender.

• 59% of adults say knowing about Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) coverage would impact their decision to choose a specific lender.

• When thinking about purchasing a home, 76% of adults prefer to finance through a credit union or bank.1 

According to the survey results, those not planning to purchase a home report personal factors as the key reasons – such as being happy in their current living situation (42%) or personal finances (19%) – rather than external factors, like the state of the housing market (6%) or state of the economy (7%)2. In fact, 30% reported the inability to afford a down payment as the primary reason for not purchasing a home in the city or town where they currently live in the next 12 months.

“For many people, choosing a mortgage lender means entering into a long-term relationship. At PenFed, this is why we service all our mortgages for the duration of the loan,” said Cookson. “Buyers should take their time and consider all the options and alternatives when shopping for a mortgage. Credit unions typically have lower fees and serve members with quick qualification decisions and more flexible terms. So it makes sense that more than one in three of those surveyed prefers to finance through a credit union.”

Significantly, the survey found that nearly 60% of adults nationally say knowing about Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) coverage would impact their decision when choosing a specific lender. PenFed’s innovative new First Time Homebuyer Program was designed using these consumer insights and covers costly Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) for buyers with less than 20% available for a down payment – saving buyers thousands. Members are also eligible for a Timely Reward benefit of $500 cash for their 60th on-time consecutive payment.3

“PenFed’s innovative new First Time Homebuyer Program was designed with several features to help first-time homebuyers make their homebuying decisions with security and confidence – regardless of market conditions,” adds Cookson.

The PenFed Mortgage Survey was conducted from July 19-24, 2019, among a national sample of 2,200 adults. The interviews were conducted online and the data weighted to approximate a target sample of adults based on age, race/ethnicity, gender, educational attainment, and region. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

About PenFed Credit Union

Established in 1935, Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed) is America’s second-largest federal credit union, serving 1.7 million members worldwide with $25 billion in assets. PenFed Credit Union offers market-leading certificates, checking, credit cards, personal loans, mortgages, auto loans, student loans, and a wide range of other financial services. Our mission is to empower members of our community to achieve their financial well-being. PenFed Credit Union is federally insured by the NCUA and is an Equal Housing Lender. To learn more about PenFed Credit Union, visit, like us on Facebook and follow us @PenFed on Twitter. Interested in working for PenFed? Check us out on LinkedIn. We are proud to be an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer.

1Credit Unions (35%) and Banks (41%).

2Housing market: cost of mortgages (5%), housing shortage (1%). State of the economy: job insecurity (4%), fear of an economic recession (3%).

3Timely Rewards not available in Alaska, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota.